India seizes narcotics worth $390M smuggled from Pakistan

Customs officials recovered 532 kgs of suspected heroin and 52 kgs of suspected mixed narcotics, that was smuggled into India from Pakistan. (AFP)
Updated 01 July 2019

India seizes narcotics worth $390M smuggled from Pakistan

  • 586 kilograms of narcotics, mostly heroin, were hidden in 15 bags among 600 sacks of rock salt imported from Pakistan
  • An official said it was the biggest seizure of narcotics in India by any government agency

AMRITSAR, India: Customs officials in a northern Indian state say they have seized narcotics worth $390 million that were smuggled from neighboring Pakistan.
Top customs official Dipak Kumar Gupta says 586 kilograms (1,290 pounds) of narcotics, mostly heroin, were hidden in 15 bags among 600 sacks of rock salt imported from Pakistan and were seized Saturday in Punjab state.
Gupta said Monday that two men including the importer of the salt have been detained and are being questioned.
Another customs official, Bopal Singh, said it was the biggest seizure of narcotics in India by any government agency.
Officials are calling it a major success in their fight against drugs in the state, where addiction rates are high. Smuggling of drugs and goods is common along Punjab’s 553-kilometer (345-mile) border with Pakistan.


India celebrates Republic Day with military parade

Updated 26 January 2020

India celebrates Republic Day with military parade

  • Schoolchildren, folk dancers, and police and military battalions marched through New Delhi’s parade route

NEW DELHI: Thousands of Indians converged on a ceremonial boulevard in the capital amid tight security to celebrate the Republic Day on Sunday, which marks the 1950 anniversary of the country’s democratic constitution.
During the celebrations, schoolchildren, folk dancers, and police and military battalions marched through New Delhi’s parade route, followed by a military hardware display.
Beyond the show of military power, the parade also included ornate floats highlighting India’s cultural diversity as men, women and children in colorful dresses performed traditional dances, drawing applause from the spectators.
The 90-minute event, broadcast live, was watched by millions of Indians on their television sets across the country.
Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro was the chief guest for this year’s celebrations.
He was accorded the ceremonial Guard of Honor by President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Rashtrapati Bhawan, the sprawling presidential palace.
Bolsonaro joined the two Indian leaders as the military parade marched through a central avenue near the Presidential Palace.
At the parade, Bolsonaro watched keenly as mechanized columns of Indian tanks, rocket launchers, locally made nuclear-capable missile systems and other hardware rolled down the parade route and air force jets sped by overhead.
Apart from attending the Republic Day celebrations, Bolsonaro’s visit was also aimed at strengthening trade and investment ties across a range of fields between the two countries.
On Saturday, Modi and Bolsonaro reached an agreement to promote investment in each other’s country.
Before the parade, Modi paid homage to fallen soldiers at the newly built National War Memorial in New Delhi as the national capital was put under tight security cover.
Smaller parades were also held in the state capitals.
Police said five grenades were lobbed in the eastern Assam state by separatist militants who have routinely boycotted the Republic Day celebrations. No one was injured, police said.
Sunday’s blasts also come at a time when Assam has been witnessing continuous protests against the new citizenship law that have spread to many Indian states.
The law approved in December provides a fast-track to naturalization for persecuted religious minorities from some neighboring Islamic countries, but excludes Muslims.
Nationwide protests have brought tens of thousands of people from different faiths and backgrounds together, in part because the law is seen by critics as part of a larger threat to the secular fabric of Indian society.